CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR SCIENCE EDUCATION USING SMARTPHONES
University of Jaén (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Mobile technologies, such as smartphones and tablets, are becoming more popular and are deeply embedded in our daily lives. The vast volume of smartphone users and the amazing developments in technology have driven a rapid advancement of the software and hardware that have converted our mobile devices into extremely versatile tools. The widespread of use has changed and transformed some of our habits, communication styles and the way that such devices are used in many facets of our lives.
Interaction, engagement, proposals of many outdoor activities, saving time, expanding places to learn, personalization and customization to the individuals, seem to be, among others, benefits to utilize mobile devices in the light to develop new educational scenarios and proposals for science education in particular and for education in general. Therefore, in regards of some mobile device features, including smartphones should be advocated to promote innovations and new environments to teach and learn. These opportunities are even greater if we take into consideration that smartphones are equipped with sensors of light, movement, sound, positioning, etc. This offers new opportunities to design and to implement tasks and activities to teach physics, chemistry, biology, etc.
Some authors have envisaged that emergent applications and currently generations of mobile devices open a wide field of development and exploration within educational contexts, giving us new perspectives in regards of how smartphones could be effectively used in Science classrooms. Thus, opportunities and challenges, which rise by the use of mobile technologies for science education, become as emerging field that will need further research.
The use of smartphones to teach and learn science seems to be endless but the real educational potential of these devices arises when they are really aligned and embedded within the appropriated pedagogy. For example, inquiry-based teaching and learning pedagogies promoted and supported by technologies could not be considered as a new idea because it has been disseminate for decades, but the use of mobile devices under the “Bring your own device (BYOD)” movement, lead renewed ideas and opportunities for teaching and learning. The BYOD model is referred to that technology situation where the student brings a personally owned device to school for the purpose of learning. BYOD movement has reported promising results. Educational literature has informed about innovative and successful experiences in science education using mobile devices when they are properly embedded in some instructional approaches aligned with the adequate methodology. However, as some authors have pointed out, how BYOD works for inquiry-based pedagogical practices in authentic learning environment has rarely been studied.
This paper is aimed to present some research-based findings and ideas found in literature related to the BYOD for Science education. Herein we gather some successful ideas and experiences in which the mobile device has become integrated in an appropriate student-centered instructional strategy for learning science. In light of these experiences and other research-based evidences we propose some recommendations and guidelines for the integration of mobile technology (smartphones) in science classrooms taking into account some of the current trends in science education, such as inquiry and connections with real-life situations.
Keywords: BYOD, STEM, smartphones, Inquiry-based learning, context-based learning.